Nick Hughes

Opinion Editor

I am on social security for having autism and I receive food stamp benefits. While I appreciate the government helping me with my money issues; the programs are not enough. This is not because of wanting or need on my part, but because I receive a little less than 150 dollars a month on food stamps. I have to be careful throughout the month with my food stamps. Is this enough money to get all the food that I would need for a month? In my experience, it is not. In fact, it does not come close.
A rough calculation of how much a meal costs revealed that I use around eight dollars a meal. Granted, this is a rough estimate and I would state that the range is somewhere between five and eight dollars a meal. This is wholly dependent on what I eat. If I eat healthier, it tends to be in the upper end of the estimate, but if I eat not as healthy, it tends to be lower. Sometimes I can get away with three dollars per meal. Taking into account that lunch and dinner are usually bigger than breakfast, I can say I spend three dollars on breakfast. Five to eight dollars is how much on my lunch and dinner spending.
If we use this estimate and apply it to a week we get 21 for one week of breakfasts and 70 a week for lunch and dinner. Combined that is 91 for one week of meals. Knowing that I have to limit intake though forces me to not eat as much food as I would like. More often, I get cheaper, less-healthy food. Looking at food prices for the more expensive stuff I estimate that a week’s worth of healthier meals costs about 180 dollars. Again, this is an estimate. I only get less than 150 a month. So, I am forced to eat food that is not as healthy for me. The unhealthy options put me at around 80 a week on average.

Two weeks then equal 160 dollars which are about thirty more than what I get from food stamps. I can make this work. I also want to emphasize that I am not complaining. I am concerned though that the federal government thinks that this is enough. Never mind that this is the low part of the estimate. The food stamp program needs looked at, but I doubt it would be by the current administration.

Those who have to live on SSI benefits, as well as food stamps, do not have it easy. Contrary to some popular belief. We are trying our best, but sometimes what we get is not enough. This is something to think about.